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|What||Chivas Guadalajara vs Leon|
|Where||Estadio Akron (Guadalajara, Mexico)|
|When||Saturday, July 25th at 8:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||Telemundo|
Is it possible to already have a playoff preview during Week 1 of a new Liga MX season? In what should prove to be the game of the weekend, both Chivas Guadalajara and Leon appear to once again be on the cusp of becoming a couple of Mexico’s top teams.
Chivas, who recently finished in 2nd place of the preseason Copa Por Mexico tournament, have all the right tools to dominate not only Leon, but numerous Liga MX opponents. With a frontline that includes young Mexican stalwarts such as Jose Juan Macias, Alexis Vega and Jesus Angulo, Chivas’ attack will arguably be one of the most lethal in the upcoming season.
But if we’re talking about threatening attacking options, we shouldn’t overlook Leon either.
With more goals scored than any other Liga MX team over the last two seasons, Leon’s firepower is an entertaining marvel that has thwarted many rivals. Over the last 12 to 16 months, few teams, if any, have been as reliable as last season’s 2nd place team when it comes to finding multiple goals per game.
Odds taken from BetMGM
Both teams have something to offer, but it looks like Chivas will have a narrow advantage. As mentioned earlier though, we can’t overlook Leon just yet.
Let’s dive into some stats.
When looking at the last two seasons, no Liga MX team has more goals scored than Leon. The team ranked 2nd in ball possession and were 1st when looking at xG (expected goals) per shot. Leon is a powerhouse in the final third and has maintained most of their daunting frontline figures as they head into the weekend.
Key players like Angel Mena and Luis Montes will be fit and expected to either help assist goals or score them themselves. And even if Mena and Montes aren’t capable of doing so, what makes Leon so dangerous is the fact that they have a number of other goal-scoring options that have had no issues with stepping up when other vital players have underperformed.
Who will be the next Raul Jimenez or Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez? Who will be the next Mexican striker that takes the world by storm?
It might be a developing player sitting up top for Chivas.
Macias, at the age of 20, has already become a household name in the Mexican soccer scene. With an eye for accurate finishing and excellent ball control, the young striker has emerged as a potential target for a number of European clubs. But before he goes abroad, he still has plenty to prove at the domestic level with Chivas. A good season would do wonders before possibly making the leap towards a European club, and assuming he could eventually do so, a first step in the right direction would be through a noteworthy season-opening performance against Leon.
For all of their success in their frontlines, Chivas and Leon still have much to work left to do when it comes to defense. When looking at the stats from the last two Liga MX seasons, both teams landed in the top eight of xGA (expected goals against).
Their attack-minded playing styles, although attractive, leaves them susceptible to counters throughout any game.
This means we could see plenty of goals on Saturday. In an effort to make a statement in the first week of the season, don’t expect either side to sit back or play conservatively in the start of a new tournament.
We should see goals from both clubs in what should be an entertaining and closely battled shoot-out. Considering the fact that either side has the capabilities to come out on top, stick with a draw that yields the biggest benefit on your investment.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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